Qualifying for all three spring national championships, a win at the World University Championships in Italy and three All-Americans: These are a few of the Georgetown sailing team’s accomplishments in the past year that the 2014 squad will hope to replicate. These top national and world finishes came after stellar performances in fall national and conference competitions, including a win at Singlehanded Nationals by junior Greg Martinez and a win at Match Race Nationals.
Still, 2014 promises to be yet another impressive year. With a roster bolstered by freshmen and the return of the most successful of last year’s athletes, the Blue and Gray believe they have a chance to repeat or even exceed the high bar they have set for themselves in the past.
“Our senior class last year was pretty small and our freshman class this year is quite huge, 11 freshman and a couple people returning from a year off,” junior captain and All-American Nevin Snow said. “So the team composition is about as deep as the team has been since I’ve been on the team my freshman year.”
The loss of seniors brought some inevitable changes to leadership on the team, but the Hoyas were able to preserve much of their starting roster.
“We certainly graduated some really good sailors, strong team players last year … so that was a big loss,” Head Coach Mike Callahan said. “But our stars on the coed side are all underclassmen so this year we returned each of them; I think they’ll be a little bit better so we’re excited for that.”
Snow, part of the team that brought home a victory at the World University Championships in Italy over the summer, is among this group of Hoyas that has the opportunity to both pursue further success and mentor future team leaders. The fall season will provide a chance to hone individual skills, and find out who among the newcomers will contribute to the team this season.
“For a lot of us, it’s pretty full-on with a lot of individual practicing on the weekends and a lot of specialized events,” Snow said. “As a captain, I’m there and not really enforcing the fact that I want to practice for my individual events but trying to help the freshmen feel welcome on the team so right now it’s a lot of team building stuff.”
In addition to the coed side returning its entire starting roster, the women’s squad returns several key components of its team who hope to lead the Hoyas to a higher overall finish.
“We have a lot of really strong sailors for freshmen,” Callahan said of the women. “We finished 16th last year [nationally] in women’s and we really want to do better than that this year, and we certainly believe we can do much better than that.”
The success that the team experienced last year will serve as motivation and a challenge for the Hoyas this year. Both Snow and Callahan spoke of Georgetown’s second-place finish against Yale at Coed-Nationals in June as an example of room for improvement.
“Right now we’re pretty driven to hit practice hard even though it’s early in the season and make everything count,” Snow said, “Everything is pretty fresh in our minds after last June.”
With the team’s success often receiving little fanfare on campus, the Hoyas have quietly put together an eye-catching record in the recent past.
“We’ve got 10 national championships to our team and two university world championships, so we’ve been a successful kind of under-the-radar team for a long time at Georgetown,” Callahan said. “We feel like we can continue to be successful and we’ve got a really good group of kids, a fun group, so we’re excited to represent Georgetown.”
Snow believes that having a group of experienced leaders willing to teach a group of promising recruits will put Georgetown Sailing in a position to replicate last year’s accomplishments.
“The seniors and juniors are doing our best to give [the freshmen] a taste of what national caliber sailing is,” Snow said. “We’re feeling pretty darn confident and we’re in it to not only get top two this year, but we want to win this time around.”